The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899 Page: 11
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Oran Milo Roberts.
dissenting opinion in regard to practice on writ of error in the
Supreme Court. The first of these cases was decided in 1857, and
the last in 1878. Between these two dates lies a vast and vital pe-
riod of judicial development and legal learning, to the annals of
which his deep thought and indefatigable industry contributed
nobly and permanently. We may simply notice as milestones on the
way of his labor and zeal, the exposition of the "rule in Shelley's
case"2-that pons asinorum -of technical lawyers-which has been
accepted and followed by very many able courts; his masterly
analysis of the law -of 'legal malice, and the distinction between the
degrees of murder,3 which has become a world-wide authority; his
explanation ,of the scope 'and meaning 'of the law 'of eminent
domain;4 his splendid discussion ,of the functions and application
of mandamus in the control -of a State officer;5 his last great opin-
ion in the case of Guilford vs. Love,6 covering the whole realm of
probate law, and the process ,of administration under a will in
Texas; and last, but not least, his system 'of rules for practice and
pleading in the courts -of Texas, which has remained the code of
Texas practice in the trial 'of causes in this State, and is 'approved
by the experience of both bench and bar.
After his elevation to the Supreme bench, events rapidly cul-
minated in conditions that for the time suspended the calm and
cloistered deliberations of the court and the consultation room.
The new court, with Wheeler at its head, and Roberts and Bell as
his associates, was hardly seated before the sounds 'of approaching
tumult and disunion shook alike bench, bar, and populace. The
campaign of 1857, between Houston and Runnels, for Governor,
had been one of unprecedented vigor and acrimony, resulting in
the defeat of General Houston by a large majority. Meanwhile, the
continued aggressions of the abolition faction in the North, the
open defiance of the Statutes of the United 'States, in the violation
of the fugitive slave law, the violent denunciation of the Supreme
Court for its decision in the Dred Scott case, the increasing bitter-
2Hancock vs. Butler, 21 Texas, 804.
McCoy vs. State, 25 Texas, 33.
422 Texas, 504.
s40 Texas, 647.
149 Texas, 715.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 2, July 1898 - April, 1899, periodical, 1898/1899; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101011/m1/15/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.